Ad-Blocking: Friend or Foe?

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We're proud to present a guest blog post from our #YMS16 event partners GADM. Read on for a sneak peak at their latest event, ADPAC:

Ad-blocking: a force for change, or a death knell for content creators?

The President of the World Federation of Advertisers, David Wheldon, spoke at their Global Marketer Conference in Malaysia about the need for adaptability and growth in the creation of adverts.  

‘We’ve all – agencies, publishers and brands – encouraged users to want something for nothing: access to great content without having to pay for it, directly or via advertising," he said.

Ad Blocking is a serious threat to our industry. It represents a true crisis for advertisers, publishers and the technologies supporting the online media business.
— Damian Ryan, founder of GADM, the Global Academy for Digital Marketing, curators of The All-Parties Digital Advertising Conference 2016 (APDAC)

"Without direct payment or ad-funded the quality of content will diminish. At the same time we need to raise our own standards – the quality of what is being produced as ads is in our own hands. It needs to improve."

He went on to speak about how adverts should use the rise in reliance on ad-blocking software as a sign for how obtrusive agencies had become. It should be used to kick-start change, not be seen as a tolling of the bell for agencies and content creators reliant on ad revenue.

Naturally not everyone sees this obstacle in a positive light – Culture Secretary John Whittingdale described ad blocking software as a ‘modern day protection racket’ which was widely interpreted as a reference to the guidelines discussed below.  

Is ad-blocking software the true enemy of advertising?

Adblock Plus have been working on ‘the other side’ to find a solution to this problem. They consulted their audience in 2011 and created a compromise within the ‘block all ads to enjoy free content’ idea.

The company produced written guidelines detailing what constitutes an acceptable ad. The aim is for users to select a 'white-list' option, letting approved ads play.

Naturally users can still block all ads should they choose to but Adblock Plus reported that 25% of their audience will indeed choose the white-list option, an encouraging statistic.

These guidelines include stipulations that all adverts

  • Does not disrupt the flow of a page
  • Be immediately distinguishable as an advert
  • Be in proportion with the size of the page it is being viewed on be that desktop or tablet

Any ad that does not comply with these guidelines will be removed from the whitelist system. According to AdBlock Plus this is beneficial in two ways as it will firstly ‘encourage the ad industry to pursue less intrusive ad formats’ and secondly ‘it provides us with a viable source of revenue, which we need to be able to administer the Acceptable Ads program and continue development of a free product.’

Is there a creative solution?

This is the question that we seek to answer at our event. If you are working for a publisher or media owner, brand or advertiser and whether ad blocking is an opportunity or threat to your business, you need to attend the inaugural APDAC event, the pre-eminent authority on ad blocking.

Joined by speakers from Yahoo, Adblock Plus and the World Federation of Advertisers APDAC consists of a keynote and seminar structure involving many of the major stakeholders in digital advertising; investigating the critical challenges and potential solutions raised by ad-blocking technology.

The event will offer a platform for honest and forthright debate between device manufacturers, government, consumer groups, advertising groups and publishers making it the first event of its kind. Ipsos Connect will also be revealing the results of bespoke research into Ad Blocking conducted exclusively for APDAC and the conclusions and ideas from the debate will contribute to a white paper, which will be taken to government, industry bodies and all other stakeholders setting out an action plan in response to the rise of Ad Blocking.

Get an exclusive 30% off your ADPAC ticket by using code VOX30. Tickets for ADPAC are available here.
For more information, please contact